You may be aware that I work part-time in a local café. One of the many features of this café, is their free Wi-Fi. The access code is displayed for anyone to use if you know where to look. Most customers will use the Wi-Fi for what it is there for i.e. so they can check their emails or show someone pictures on their phone, that kind of thing. However, there is an increasing number of customers that seem to visit the café with the sole purpose of accessing the the free internet.
On Tuesday this week, I arrived at work around 10:20, which is my usual time and noticed a customer sat at a 4 seater table. He had his laptop open and was also using his phone. I also noticed he was wearing a pair of headphones and one of those ‘cheek mikes’ that seem to be the norm these days. I hovered around his table for a few seconds before entering the kitchen and realised that he was conducting some kind of interview with somebody. Over the course of the next couple of hours, he still seemed to be talking to someone and on a couple of occasions, he got quite animated. He eventually left at around 12:45, or at least that’s when I noticed he had gone. From what I could see, he had drunk one cup of coffee and who knows how many glasses of free water. I mentioned to the chef that he had gone and he explained that he had been sat at the table since about 09:00. Just one cup of coffee!! The table staff have been told not to move people on, but to keep asking if they require anything else. They call it ‘good customer service’. But what about the ‘good customer service’ for the customers who cannot get a seat?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for getting free Wi-Fi in places I visit, but come on … lets not abuse it.
Unfortunately, my From Now to Then series has had to be put on hold for a while. The friend I ask to ‘proof read’ the posts is not going to be available for the next few weeks. He is in the process of changing jobs which has resulted in him emigrating to Canada. So for the next few weeks or so he only has internet access on his smart phone. Once he is settled, he has promised to continue helping. After all, I need to be as accurate as my memory serves me and it needs to be libellous free. Hopefully it will be not too long as I still have a few things to tell.
Recently, I was asked by a friend if I could do a bit of shopping for him. All he wanted was some blade for his razor. He has a famous brand of razor that uses multi blade cartridges. They are disposable and simply click into the handle. Very popular as they are supposed to give a very close shave. I have never really found them to my taste as I was put off by those horrible two blade disposable razors that were becoming fashionable in the mid 1970’s. I found them very uncomfortable to hold and use, and could never get more than two or three shaves before they were put in the bin.
But to the point of this moan. I went straight to a well known supermarket and sought out the ones my friend had asked for, only to find that the pack had eight cartridges and cost just over £22. I thought that they must be cheaper than that somewhere. I tried B**ts and they were more expensive there and the price in Sup***rug was the same. I was very shocked to see that the packs also had security tags to prevent theft. I bought some, but vowed never to buy them for myself.
This is my wet shaving setup. The soap-mug was a present, so I don’t know the cost. The soap was bought from the previously mentioned supermarket and was about £4.00. But the real bargain was the razor and the blades. The razor was bought on eBay and cost me £2.99 postage free. I came with a pack of 5 double edged blade, an comes with its own storage box. I also bought a pack of Astra blades. They came in a box of 10 packets, each packet had 5 blades. Price, including postage £2.00. But the real bargain was the soap brush. I had originally priced them up as around £6.00 for a ‘genuine badger’ bristle. The ones I got are natural bristle and there were 10 for £6.50, and they are just as good. I usually wet shave twice a week and have an electric razor for the other days, as it is often quicker.
At the beginning of last week I noticed a new bird in the garden. It was small, rounded, grey with a few white spots and a red ring around it’s eyes. I did a little probing around the internet and discovered that it could have been a Diamond Dove. This seemed a ridiculous notion as the bird is native of Australia. Now I know migratory birds can travel huge distances but this thing seemed far too small to travel very far. I took a picture and used, what I now know is Google Lens to try and properly identify the creature. Google Lens confirmed that the bird was in fact a Diamond Dove. I can only assume that it had been in somebodies local aviary and it escaped. It was with us up until around Thursday waddling around on the ground picking up seeds that the Starlings drop from the feeder. It now seems to have gone, which is a shame.
September sees races in the UCI World Cycling Championship being held in Yorkshire. The main racing takes place between the 22nd and 26th, but on the 21st one of the Yorkshire 2019 Para-Cycling International legs is starting locally in Wetherby. A local Knitting/Craft shop has been given permission to have knitted bunting both sides of a 1/2 stretch of the route. So a call had gone out for local knitters to create some bunting in the right colours. I managed to knit 20 triangles making 4 sets. I could have done another five, but was running short of a couple of the colours.
It was never going to be easy. People have different ideas of what a family holiday is all about. With 10 different people, although the same family there will always be some mild conflict with what people want to do each day.
This one has been exasperated with problems surrounding the accommodation. First there was a problem with the heating, to the extent that there simply wasn’t any on. Then the internet went down which meant that the heating,
which is controlled via the internet couldn’t be changed. Then yesterday, the power went off. Luckily the evening meal was cooked, but 10 people trying to eat at a table with only one smallish candle was a sight to behold.
However, all is good now, but there is still an issue with the heating.
We went to the world famous Tan Hill Inn. It is the highest pub in Great Britain and also the highest point on the renowned Pennine Way. It was really busy, full of walkers and general tourists. Me and K*** just had a sandwich between us whilst S**** had one to himself. The food was okay, nothing special but we just went there for the atmosphere. It was a shame that the Tan Hill Ale just finished as we got there, but we had a nice pint of Timothy Taylors Landlord.
The number of times I have warned people about the dangers of Internet shopping, I go and get caught myself. I’m forever saying that ‘…if it looks to good to be true, then it is…’ I can’t remember how many times I have told family and friends that the cheapest is not the best option as ‘…it’s usually cheap for a reason…’ That and advising people to look at the reviews and feedback, and then I go and ignore it all.
It was basically down to greed at the end of the day. I need a new, cordless hammer drill. The one I have is a cheapish one and I bought it about three years ago. The battery pack has started to lose it’s charge very quickly even if not in use. I can put it on charge one day and the charge will be lost without even using the thing. So when I had to use my corded drill to complete a simple job, I thought it was time to get an updated one. I did the usual trawl of the internet (or should I say eBay) to get the best price for what I wanted, and my results were coming up at between £35.00 and £50.00. So you can imagine my surprise when one showed up at £41.99 with ‘free’ accessory pack. What I wanted at the price I was willing to pay! Without any further research, I went through my cash-back site and purchased it, via PayPal.
It was a few hours later that I got an email from eBay advising me that “Your recent eBay transaction may be from a compromised account”. It also went on to explain, that “The item has been removed from the site, and the transaction was cancelled“. I checked my bank account, and of course the payment had gone through to PayPal. I then checked PayPal and found that the payment to the seller was pending. I quickly cancelled the payment and PayPal showed that my back account will be re-credited with the amount. There was a small caveat though, PayPal said it could take up to 30 days for the transaction to credit.
After wiping the egg off my face, I realised that this kind of thing can happen to anyone. I just took my eye off the ball and was caught. Massive lesson learned here.
I partake in a number of internet surveys. I do it for gain, not for “A chance to influence …”No, sheer monetary gain or for points/credits that I can convert into money or goods that I want/like. I subscribe to around four or five survey sites, but the most profitable ones are YouGov and Maximiles. YouGov gives you points in the range of 25 to 100 depending on the length of the survey, and once you hit 5000 you can redeem the sum of £50.00. Maximiles has the more usual approach of giving you points for every completed survey.
The main difference between YouGov and Maximiles is that you are never screened out of a YouGov survey. If you get an invite for a YouGov survey, you will get the points. It not always the case with Maximiles and recently they seem to be having an issue the closing out of completed survey. They say they are working on a fix, but it does seem to be taking a long time.
To date. I have had £100.00 from YouGov and a £28.00 bottle of Hendricks Gin from Maximiles. So bad for 20 or so minutes two or three times a week.
I also subscribe to Panel Opinion, GlobalTestMarket and panelbase.net but these tend to be more ‘miss’ than ‘hit’ when it comes to eligible surveys, so I tend not to bother with them too much.
A bit of an update on yesterdays ‘scary’ moment post. I noticed, this morning, a news item on my WordPress dashboard, advertising a WordPress event in Leeds. It would seem that there is a local WP group that meets up quite regularly. It is not likely that I would attend, but I thought it would be good to find out a little more, as I had no idea that this kind of thing existed in the UK.
So to get at the main details etc, I had to join up with an organisation called ‘meetup.com’. Sounded reasonable, so I went ahead and started to fill in the required email, username and password. I scrolled to the bottom of the screen, looking for the ‘next’ button when I spotted one of those Google location markers. To my surprise my location was described as “Huddersfield”. The Google alert claimed that the login attempt was from a PC in the Huddersfield area. A bit of a coincidence!
Now, here’s what I think has happened. The bathroom fitters had to turn off the electric for a while, which of course turned off the internet router. When the power was restored my PC tried to log me back into my Google account, and it failed a couple of times. When It did finally log me in, I then got the notification of the ‘Account Alert’ So it seems (don’t quote me on this) that the perceived hacking attempt, was actually me. Somehow, something was indicating the my laptop was in Huddersfield. Very bizarre indeed as it has never been to Huddersfield.
At the end of the day, I was probably safe, but it did shake me up a little and made more determined to review my password management.
For a few months now, I have had a problem with my calendar. My primary email account is a Gmail account, and the application that use to read and write my email is Outlook 2016. Here was the problem! Outlook has its own calendar, but I can only see that calendar on my laptop as that is where the data is saved. My tablet and phone cannot pick up that calendar, but can see my Google calendar. So, my work around was to have an application that synchronised both calendars. After much ‘Googling’ I such an application and it was successfully installed. It ran without issues for a good few weeks, but then I noticed that although it said it was synchronising, it wasn’t happening. It was assumed by the software company that produced it, that the latest Windows update was causing a problem. There was no apology or offer to investigate it was just ‘A Windows 10 issue’ and was left at that.
Much more Googling and expressive language followed, before I found the next answer …add my Google calendar as an Internet Calendar in Outlook and use that one only. Brilliant …and so easy to do. Job done and me now a happy man. But wait a minute, I don’t seem to be able to delete an entry from that calendar. What is going on? It seems that the Google calendar is read only in Outlook. I’m now beginning to lose it a little bit. More searching and another application is found. This one seems to work. It synchronises every hour, I would prefer every 15 minutes but can live with the hour restriction. Back to the ‘happy man’ status again. I then notice, that my Outlook calendar is showing duplicated entries! My language is getting worse. I looked at some of the help forum and it explains that this is one of the issues and the only way around, is to delete all entries from both calendars and re-enter them in one calendar only. Not going to happen. I have now consigned that application to the recycle bin along with the others.
So I’m now left with the only option I appear to have. I use the Google calendar and have it as a read only calendar when I’m using Outlook. Not ideal, but seems to be the only thing I can do.